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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Unranked

Genre: Platformer

Awards: Grossest Junk
Man, Wear Some Pants, DK Pros: With Some Grace, This Game Can Scratch that DK Itch
Cons: Shrill audio/ Missing 4th board/ Mario has trouble moving his pudgy buttocks up ladders
I Always hated This Board


Overview: We all know that the story of King Kong influenced the game Donkey Kong. A giant ape/ monkey sees a hot blonde and wants to take her on a date and show her the town... from the Empire State building... the outside... of the top part... he thinks "Man, this chick is gonna dig this view," while she is screaming bloody murder. I'm not sure where the giant gorilla thinks this date is headed, but as humans, we overvalue our hot blondes and we will not let them get abducted by monsters without a fight. Enter a slightly overweight, good samaritan... who sees this as an oppurtunity to possibly land someone out of his league. The hero has no plan- only driven by lust. Go man go. Well, regardless of all that bull... along with Pac-Man and Space Invaders, Donkey Kong was one of those seminal video games that put the arcade world on the main stream map. In fact, this game introduces us to the superstar known as Donkey Kong, but also to the biggest name in video
game history: Mario. Before all the glitz and glam got to his head, Mario is simply known in this game as the insipid-sounding "Jump-man". Its true, Mario and Donkey Kong have made peace with each other in recent years, but they were originally enemies. Donkey Kong is a big monkey/ gorilla/ ape-thing. The word "Donkey" in Japanese means stupid. This is a questionable name for this guy to begin with: not only because he is not a Donkey, but he eventually outsmarts Mario and never loses. In addition, he will later star in several of his own video games, a cartoon, learns to drive a go-kart, and plays tennis and golf like a pro. In fact, Mario is too "DONKEY" to buy an elephant gun or call the police in this situation. Who is the real "DONKEY" ass now? All of this banter aside, the arcade version of Donkey Kong is a classic, so lets look at how the 7800 version stacks up.

Graphics: I'm kinda teetering on how the graphics look in this game. Some animations look good, others look really really flat. Jump-man Mario is as homely as Scrapyard Dog's Louie in this, mainly because looks a little squished, as do most of the graphics. Donkey Kong looks pretty good, but I'm not sure what is going on in his genital region, and I'm not sure I want to know. The first and third boards look pretty OK, just a little squished, whereas the second level is just plain ugly. Overall, not a bad effort, but not anything like the dead on graphics in the 7800's version of Mario Brothers.

Sound: We really struggle here. There are plenty of sound effects and blips, buzzes, and zips in this game, but the noises are so shrill it really is irritating. Just now as I write this review with the sound on low, and my neck is tensed up and my dog is urinating in the corner of the room. Combine the Spring bouncing around with Mario climbing the ladders in the 2nd level, and that is a recipe for audio suicide.

Gameplay:Donkey Kong was the first video game platformer, "BECAUSE OF ALL THE PLATFORMS, DUH" (said in the voice of Alec Baldwin imitating Donald Trump). We NOW associate the platformer genre with titles like Sonic, Alex Kidd, and Super Mario Brothers, but this was the grass roots baby. The goal in this game is not shoot things or clear mazes by being a glutton, its to move from point A to point B by traversing several PLATFORMS. SEE? Don't ya feel stupid now? THATS WHERE THEY GOT THE NAME! Mario climbs these odd structures, avoiding obtacles and arcane enemies along the way, and by the time he gets to the top, DK grabs the girl, says "HELL NAW", and carries her somewhere else. Also... is Donkey Kong like a necromancer? What's with all of these slow, flaming, semi-intelligent flame monsters that pop out of nowhere? Why has he never used these talents in Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart? Is he holding back? Did someone pass a law against it? Did he find religion? There's a lot to unpack here. Getting back to THIS version, The controls on this port are pretty good, although a few things really bug me about the game. Namely, if I have to climb a ladder in a hurry to escape a rolling barrel, more often than not, Mario will struggle getting his lard butt up the ladder. He momentarily stops for no reason!!! Geez Mario, hit the gym, buddy. Another thing that irks me is when Mario over jumps and lands on a level below where he is and he dies. Have you seen him in any other game? The brother can jump 10 stories at a time and giggles when he lands. Here, he breaks his ankles, crumples up and passes out over a few feet. Blah! Also, this version is also missing the conveyor belt board. Why? I would assume it's just 100% pure laziness. There is no question that the 7800 could have handled this, the programmers just wanted the weekend off.

Interpretation: It looks like Donkey Kong, sounds kinda like audio hell, and does a decent job playing like Donkey Kong, but the "squished" graphics, terrible audio, and the lack of the Conveyer Belt screen makes this an average home version. It's still decently fun, mainly because... hey... it's DK, man. But after a few minutes of listening to the shrill sounds and wrestling the controls, you will be scrambling around for one of the 7800's much better Arcade ports soon.

Value: Since this is an Arcade classic, a lot of Atari-nerds will probably play this often. Donkey Kong purists will shy far, far away, though. The lack of added modes, levels or bonuses make this game feel real stripped down and easily forgettable.

Overall: When reviewers and retro video game fans lament about what could have been on a missed oppurtunity, the 7800 version of Donkey Kong is one of the games we think about. When we say "this should have been this way or that" sometimes we are being bitches or wishful thinking. But in this case, we know. Oh... how do we know, you ask? BECAUSE WE NOW HAVE PRROF. There is a new version of Donkey Kong for the 7800 made by a skeleton crew called "Donkey Kong PK" or "Donkey Kong XM" that showcases all four boards, improved graphics, sound and traditional gameplay. It's nearly perfect. This is another hobby programmer mission of mercy that showcases what this corporately made game should have been from the get go. Its a dream. These versions (PK for includes Pokey chip or XM for Xpansion Module compatible) smoke the doors off this poor version of Donkey Kong. You wouldn't believe the difference until you see it! So.............. SEE IT!



Other Reviews:
Video Game Critic: B+
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 2.5 out of 5.0 (Weak)
The Atari Times: 5 out of 10


Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.

***The original job of "Jump Man" was supposed to be filled by no other than Popeye the Sailor Man. Popeye would later star in his own video game that would be a success... but can you imagine the world of Nintendo being represented by Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto and Donkey Kong??? SO WEIRD. Bizarro world weird.